This weekend was the second (now annual) Cousin Sleepover.  So, around 7pm they began to trickle in until the last of the 5 had finally arrived.  Now, it may seem like quite a feat to equally entertain a group of people who’s ages range from 14-27, but I would say we pulled it off.  Somehow in the mist of everyone talking over everyone else, we managed to plan a really fun night.  Dinner, a scary movie, boba, and cupcakes and toss in some video games, and the last of us finally fell asleep at 5 in the morning.  Yes, 5am…and those monsters still wake up at 10:30!

Well, the annual event happened to coincide with a few birthdays, so I decided on making some cupcakes.  To be honest, I’ve been pretty tired lately and I haven’t had much time for myself.  So I decided that I wanted to do something quick and simple and decided a one-bowl cupcake batter would be a lifesaver.   I didn’t want to skimp on making anything special, so i splurged a bit and used Valrhona chocolate in place of traditional cocoa powder.  This was going to be one pricey batch of cupcakes, but I figured it was well worth it.  I didn’t have any particular frosting in mind, but in the end, made a great Oreo Cream Cheese frosting I will certainly make again.  Really, it’s nothing more than throwing tons of  Oreo crumbs into the cream cheese frosting…but you know what? It works!  The boyfriend was a huge fan…but in all honestly, I have a hard time accepting his praises since he’s never offered a single piece of criticism.  But, his cousins loved them (one of whom hates chocolate…i know…I didn’t know those people existed either) and made my day.

Either way, this recipe is soooooooo easy and produces such a wonderfully rich cupcake.

Look how beautifully dark the Valhrona comes out!

Now, I kind of wished I had one myself.  But with all the baking I’ve done for parties lately, I can’t afford to have any more dessert.  Not to mention Mike and I are having a big, fancy dinner for our Anniversary this weekend where I’m sure I’ll be inhaling 2 days worth of Calories.

Chocolate ValrhonaCupcakes

Yields approximately 18 cupcakes

3/4 cup Valrhonacocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 cup fine Oreo Crumbs

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in vanilla extract.  Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar (I like to to a taste check after the first cup…because I base how sweet I like my frosting on the actual dessert it’s accompanying).  Lastly, once level of sweetness is achieved, mix in Oreo crumbs.

Recipe is my own.